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How many people are affected by or at risk for Cushing’s syndrome?

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The risk of developing Cushing’s syndrome is small; only two to three people per million are identified as having the disease each year.1,2 Some additional cases might go undiagnosed because the symptoms are mistakenly attributed to other conditions, such as type 2 diabetes or osteoporosis.1,3 The most common age for Cushing’s syndrome to develop is between the ages of 20 and 50 years. Women are three times more likely than men to get Cushing’s syndrome.1

Having certain hereditary diseases increases a person’s risk of developing a pituitary tumor,4 which can lead to Cushing’s syndrome. These hereditary diseases include:

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia (pronounced nee-oh-PLEY-zhuh) type 1 (MEN 1) syndrome
  • Carney complex
  • Isolated familial acromegaly (pronounced ak-r>uh-MEG-uh-lee)

  1. Steffensen, C., Bak, A. M., Rubeck, K. Z., & Jørgensen J. O. (2010). Epidemiology of Cushing’s syndrome. Neuroendocrinology, 92 (Suppl 1), 1-5. PMID 20829610. [top]
  2. Lindholm, J., Juul, S., Jørgensen, J. O. L, Astrup, J., Bjerre, P., Feldt-Rasmussen, U., et al. (2001). Incidence and late prognosis of Cushing’s syndrome: A population-based study. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 86(1), 117-123. PMID 11231987. [top]
  3. Boscaro, M., & Arnaldi, G. (2009). Approach to the patient with possible Cushing’s syndrome. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 94(9), 3121-3131. PMID 19734443. [top]
  4. Melmed, S. (2011). Pathogenesis of pituitary tumors. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 7, 257-266. [top]

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